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Rediscovering Ginninderra:
Donald McDonald

Born: 1821; Died: 1909; Married: Christina Finlayson

Donald McDonald, son of Archibald and Margaret McDonald, was born in 1821. It is presumed he was born in Invernesshire, Scotland, and migrated with his parents on the 'William Nichol' in 1838 . He had three brothers, Alexander of Glenelg, John McDonald of Uriarra and Colin. Archibald was supposed to go to the Hunter region. They instead ended up at Duntroon working for Robert Campbell. He was a good farmer so Campbell sent him to manage 'Uryarra' (spelling correct for the era). He had savings from a farm sale in Scotland and kept saving till he had enough to buy Uriarra in 1852. He went on to buy 'Burra'and 'Royalla'.

With his wife Christina, Donald settled at 'Ashton', Round Hill, Weetangera in about 1870 and was a farmer and grazier there for nearly forty years. This is not to be confused with 'Aston', the property of Henry Gozzard Senior. 'Ashton' was on the border of the Parishes of Canberra and Weetangera. Donald and Christina McDonald had five children, two sons and three daughters:

The family were members of St. Ninian's Presbyterian Church, an outstation of the Queanbeyan Charge. The original, wooden church, on the Yass Road, was built by the Kinlyside family about 1865, replaced by the stone church in 1871 and is still in use today in the suburb of Lyneham, north Canberra.

Donald McDonald is commemorated in the Pioneers Memorial Tablet in St. Stephen's Presbyterian Church, Queanbeyan. This Tablet, displays Grecian carvings and thistles entwined with ivy leaves "for unforgetfulness". Placed in September 1915, it bears the names of thirty one pioneers of Presbyterianism in the district "who have passed to their eternal reward". Donald McDonald's name is one of these.

Members of his brother John's family reportedly sighted and shot at a huge ape-like animal in the Uriarra area in the late 1800's. At the time such a creature was feared and called a Yowie. Alexander Joseph McDonald, John's son, erected Hill Station Homestead in 1910. Located on the Monaro Highway in the Canberra suburb of Hume, it was used as a restaurant in recent years.

Donald McDonald retired to Gungahlin shortly before his death in 1909, aged 88.

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